I used to teach this in my ninth-grade English class and the kids really liked it a lot. It's a story about two teenagers who try to scam an old man, but end up befriending him and getting profoundly affected by his outlook on life.
While somewhat dated, since it was written in the late 1960s, it's still relevant to teenagers today, though the references to dialed pay phones are really foreign (I had to explain to this cell phone generation what they were!) and the kids often can't understand how times have changed in 40 years. Still, the themes of friendship, ageism, loyalty, and death are universal.
This is a coming of age story told from a young adult perspective with the narrative split between John Conlan a young good looking rebel who one day hopes to be an actor and Lorraine a not very attractive girl who lives with her single mom.
Both kids are up to no good when they make the acquaintence of the Pigman, an older Italian man who's lonely enough to let these two teens invade his life and somewhat take advantage of him.
Set in New York City in the mid sixties, this story doesn't feel dated at all and deals with issues that are just as current today as then.
The story is a quick read and is expertly told with all three main characters becoming more and more real and more and more understandable the more you read.
At 149 pages this is a fast read but, as with any good book, some of the ideas will stick with you longer than that. The author asserts in an afterword that everyone has a Pigman. I'll be contemplating that one a while...
Just as good and probably a little better than when I read it twenty years ago. There is a different perspective from adulthood that makes the book fresh when read again.
This book was first published the year I was born: 1968. It was one of the most frequently banned books in the 1990s. That's right. Not the 1970s or the 1980s, but the 1990s. Why? Not really sure. The two main characters are high school sophomores who lie, drink, smoke, make crank phone calls. There is no profanity and no sex and maybe just a little violence (but not much). These were clearly the reasons why certain pressure groups worked to banned this book. Instead of being profane and inappropriate, the story explores the loneliness of a widower (The Pigman) and the regret the kids have when they realize that they have taken for granted a very special and short-lived relationship with The Pigman. This super fast read would likely be of interest to most young adults (and a few not so young adults).